DeMar DeRozan says Alex Caruso "brings the intensity" to the Chicago Bulls defense ahead of the visit of Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
The Bulls won Game 2 to level the series at 1-1 and they are 6/5 in th Money Line to win the first game in Chicago on Friday, while the Bucks can be backed at 5/7.
DeRozan scored 41 points in the Game 2 victory as the Bulls drew level with the defending champions after a 93-86 loss in the series opener.
After the first game loss, DeRozan stressed he felt strong defensive play would be the key to winning the series and Chicago raised their game in all areas in Game 2.
Caruso struggled with injuries towards the end of the regular season and missed the final three games, but he has started both games against the Bucks.
DeRozan has heaped the praise on Caruso, who won the championship in 2020 with Los Angeles Lakers and says the guard has a vital role to play in the post-season for the Bulls.
"He's the anchor to our defense, he brings the intensity," DeRozan said of Caruso. "I told him not too long ago I lean on him for his energy defensively, just him being vocal."
"He's a leader when it comes to that. Gets me going sometimes, even if he's not talking to me directly, when he's speaking there's a lot that I take from it.
"Try to take on that challenge. Especially when you see him going out there competing against whoever it is, if it's Giannis (Antetokounmpo), Jrue Holiday, whoever it is, you want to match that same intensity as him."